Friday, November 30, 2012

Florida 4-H is sad to announce the death of Past State 4-H Program Leader Damon Miller Sr.

photo of hall of fame member
(TALLAHASSEE, FL- November 26, 2012) - It is with great sadness and regret that we report the passing of Florida 4-H Hall of Fame member and past State 4-H Program Leader, Damon Miller Sr. on Saturday, November 24th after a brief illness. 

Miller started working with Leon County Cooperative Extension Service in 1969 as a general county extension agent specializing in vegetable production, 4-H youth development and community resource development.

Miller was appointed to the state 4-H staff in the 1970s.  He served as the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University 4-H Program Coordinator, organizing 4-H minority outreach programs in the panhandle and North Florida, until he was appointed State 4-H Program Leader in January 1998.

He was instrumental in planning and coordinating the Florida 4-H Legislature, 4-H Public Speaking, and the 4-H Share the Fun programs from 1976 through his retirement in 2002.  

"Growing up in 4-H, I remember the adults who helped me learn and grow as a person. They worked so hard all the time, and yet they still had time for me. Their investment of time told me that I was important to them and it made the difference for me,” – Damon Miller Sr.  

The family asks in lieu of flowers/plants that contributions be made to: Tallahassee Sigmas Educational Foundation, Inc. PO BOX 180755 Tallahassee, FL 32318 Attn: Bro. Damon Miller, Sr. Scholarship Fund.

Background on the career of Damon Miller Sr.

Damon Miller Sr. became involved with 4-H early in life. As a 4-H member growing up in rural Georgia from 1958-1963, Miller participated in public speaking and poultry projects. “When I was small and growing up in rural Georgia, I was in 4-H myself. I remember the mailman bringing me chicks in the mail for my 4-H poultry project. The chicks would peep inside the package,” said Miller. He would receive about 50 chicks in the mail in March and kept a 4-H record book for his project. 

Miller started working for the Cooperative Extension Service in Leon County in 1969 as a general county extension agent specializing in vegetable production, 4-H youth development and community resource development.

Looking back, he says that one of his greatest accomplishments in his more than twenty-year career with the Florida Cooperative Extension Service was community development work he did in Leon County in the early 1970s with the Macon community. He helped the community get sewage service, water hookups, paved streets, and traffic signs.

Miller encouraged others to volunteer. “Volunteering to work with young people is one of the most rewarding things that anyone can do. Mentoring relationships are important because they provide young people with living examples to emulate and use as a pattern when making decisions governing their own futures,” said Miller.

When budget cuts in 2001 threatened to close 4-H Camp Cloverleaf and 4-H Camp Cherry Lake, Miller said, “This is a day that none of us wanted to see. The entire 4-H family — children, teens, 4-H agents, volunteer leaders, 4-H alumni and state staff — are heartbroken over these impending closures.” Ultimately, the camps were saved and the Florida 4-H Foundation stepped in to help.

He was a steadying force amid crisis. “In spite of the budget situation, all is not lost, said Miller, in a press statement. “Our commitment to youth development has only grown stronger in the face of new challenges. Our county 4-H programs will continue. 4-H teaches young people about their connections to living things, and about the linkages between people, nature and each other. That has not changed,” said Miller.

He encouraged 4-H agents, members and staff to remember what was important. “We believe that young people learn best through hands-on education, and we provide experiences they often don’t receive in their schooling. We will continue to fulfill our mission as a land-grant institution to serve the young people in our state,” said Miller

Founded in 1909, the Florida 4‐H Youth Development Program works annually with more than 230,000 young people, ages 5‐18, and nearly 15,000 volunteers. The program is active in all 67 counties and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Headquartered in Gainesville, it’s part of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. 

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information, and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions, or affiliations. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A&M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating.

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